The exceptions occur in that private realm where the individual differs, as each has an undoubted constitutional right to differ, from every other. A new collection of living Gospels, revised and corrected, and compared with the originals, is herein presented to the world.
The alternations of faith and skepticism, of lights and shades, of heaven and hades, of joys and sorrows, are familiar to the human mind. The causes of these mental states are considered. May the Arabula be unfolded in the heart of every reader. OH, the heartless contradictions in human nature! MIan, in his present state, is only a tamed savage. His best development of civilization rests upon a broad and ever-enlarging basis of brute instincts and savage attributes.
All his monumental labors for the world's advancement are mixed with the unsubdued and undisguised propensities of selfislness. Civil society is but an entangling medley of antagonistic self-interests and immoral expedients. Therefore no man is happy. Selfishness, the primal instinct, drives happiness out of the temple. The perplexities and contradictions of selfishness generate excessive laws in the tyrannical intellect.
His blunders and blindness are forgiven; but his lynx-eyed, self-justifying, willful intellect, which would crush millions to gain power and wealth, is anathematized and forever excluded from heaven. And what is man's knowledge? The millions walk in the false and hollow thoroughfares of ignorance and priest-supported superstitions. Mammon-serving myrmidons crowd upon the paths of selfish knowledge. Ignorance first builds lightexcluding palaces, and then dedicates them to the mysteries of an impracticable religion.
And man, in the plenitude of his shameless inconsistencies, prides himself upon his devotion to mystery. With commanding dignity, he styles his religious mystery, "Knowledge of God's Will. The slanting rays of science, a sun that has not yet risen, he applauds as the full blaze of absolute truth. Moralists disappoint their intimate acquaintances. Their virtues are best seen in the shrouding profundities and hair-splitting distinctions they exhibit in the science of morals.
They exhaust themselves in preaching and expounding the laws of virtue; they consign the duty of practicing morality to the uneducated multitude. The profoundest theorist in morals is impelled, by an ever-increasing tendency, to transgress, in daily dealings, his fundamental maxims of justice, truth, and virtue.
The primal instinct of selfishness surmounts and crushes the holiest proclamations of eternal truth. The contradictions of human nature cover the earth with a blighting, desolating darkness. A man who preaches the precepts of peace is not often a comfort to his family. His wife is a great skeptic in his theory.
Her eye is upon the manifestations of the eloquent expounder's life. If you want Justice, do you appeal to robed and ermined power in the State? If you seek Religion, do you adopt as final the magnificent mummeries and cabalistic ceremonies of the Established Church? If you seek consistency, do you take as its embodiment the man of civilization; only a tamed savage, with positive selfish instincts, and the profoundest intellectual disregard of others' rights and liberties?
Crucify the redeemers of the world; put them through nameless miseries; banish the reformers into interminable mountains of frost, desolation, and sorrow; kindle the fagots of wrath about the pioneers of infinite benefits; condemn to dungeons the brave heroes who have resisted the organized selfishness of powerful governments; starve the saviors of slaves, who have, during a sad lifetime, toiled without reward, under the blistering lash of crime-promoting task-masters; turn deafened ears to the sighs of fallen women, who have, under the magnetic touch and bewildering persuasions of hypocritical love, erred within the burning passion of some selfgratifying human savage; cover, with inextinguishable contumely and misrepresentations, the fearless teacher, who would overthrow the world's errors in religion, bring a rational conception of God, and initiate principles of higher degrees of existence.
Most vulnerable is he who makes boast of-his high impregnability. No man is more cowardly than he who prides himself upon his valor. The immeasurable fool is self-sustained with the sweet consciousness of being the wisest man in town. The richest merchant in the city cannot afford the luxuries common in the household of his chief clerks.
The inimitable comedian, whose simplest speech and gesture convulse with merriment an audience of two thousand intelligent people, is the epitome of independent and incurable melancholy. The infinitely happy lady, whose street habiliments and evening-party deportment are unapproachably perfect, carries a heart well-nigh bursting with wounds and disappointments.
The honest citizen is unjustly living upon heavy profits filched from the daily toil of hopeless men and women. The virtuous trader gratifies his savage rapacity by overpassing the boundaries of justice in every bargain with less keen, but really honest men. The pious preacher, whose voice is for the extermination of sin and every other form of evil, is profane when anathematizing the enemies of his creed.
The politician is the faithful servant of the State so long as the emoluments and accruing fame are: The physician's interests are inseparably allied with the pecuniary health of his patients. The family of a professional philanthropist is most threatened with visitations of poverty and inhuman neglect.
An eloquent champion of the equal selfownership and political rights of women, was a tyrant at home, trampling upon the personal liberties of his resistless wife, and giving his sons an education superior to his daughters.
Might is mistaken for right; brute force is made to do the work of love; folly is substituted for the hints of wisdom; hypocrisy is more fashionable than innocent virtue; whited sepulchers attract thousands of worshipers, who habitually neglect the temple of the spirit; wealthy vice is more courted and sustained than poor virtue; a bold robbery is sparingly punished, while the halffamished outcast is imprisoned for petty larceny.
Is selfishness a fundamental principle of human nature? Is the foundation of man's mind composed of incurably self-seeking and savage instincts?
The bloody wars-do they originate in principles of war in human nature, or do these cruelties crop out of conditions and circumstances?
Does man err only; or, as some affirm, does he sin? He acquires knowledge through reflection and experience; but why does he employ his knowledge to accomplish his selfish ends? If the selfish instinct is the. What are called man's innocent and rational amusements?
Such as baiting the hook and jerking from their native element the beautiful fish; or hunting to death the aftrighted hare; starting savage dogs after the foxes; slaughtering the graceful and harmless deer; shooting the singing robins and the playful squirrels; running horses until the innocent animals drop dead; or brutal men fighting with each other like goaded beasts;.
Distressing and disgusting as all this is, yet the depth of man's brutality is not reached until he tramples upon woman; when, taking diabolical advantage of her weakness and timidity, he bends and breaks her upon the wheel of his ungovernable lust.
No theorizing or philosophizing can mitigate the unutterable treachery of such a man. He covers his nature with the corrupting blight of an unpardonable sin. The beasts of the field and the fowls of the air are spotless angels compared with him. Man's injustice to children, too, is unspeakably detestable. They are born from the unseen world of causes, are gentle as evening music, bringing into embodied life the infinite possibilities of deathless existence; but selfish man treats them as interlopers and unwelcome servants, whips them instead of reasoning with their intuitions, stifles their sobs with his fist, and fills the heaven-life of the little angel with lamentations too sad for the long-suffering heart of woman to bear.
Are these accumulating evidences of man's inborn selfishness insurmountable? Can you give any relief to your doubts? The construction and capabilities of his mind-its immense breadth, its grasp of thought, its intellectual abilities to meditate, plot, elude, attack, retreat, countermarch, counterfeit, decoy, capture, imprison, assassinate, burn, rob, murder, and end in suicide; all this, taken together, apparently gives an overmastering weight of evidence deplorably against the redemptibility of human nature.
WITH thoughts and feelings overwhelmed and intertangled by the foregoing reflections, and fatigued with waiting for responses to interrogatories so earnestly put. I entered the secret closet of the more interior, and prayed" Heavenly Father! Hear, I beseech thee, the spirit of the words I would breathe in thine ear.
Lift from before mine eyes the vail of mysteriousness, which shuts out of my understanding the light, by which I would behold, divested of errors and uncertainties, the unbroken beneficence of thy government.: O, breathe upon my mouth once more, and aid my tongue to utterance; inspire my bosom with the myriad tendencies of wisdom; make my blood instinct with thy universal laws; and impart, 0, I pray thee, to my brain the balance whereby truth can be weighed as by the hand of Justice; and to my heart, whose chambers are filled with thy love, an insight that shall discern thee at all times and in all things.
Was the universe any less perfect millions of centuries ago?. Will it be any more perfect millions of years hence? Answer, I beseech thee, 0, Fountain of Knowledge! And before thou filledst the world with forms and animation, didst thou foresee the selfishness of mankind? Didst thou make man to follow the impulsions of passion-to grow in intelligence and in experience, and to profit by both in devising ways and means to overreach and cruelly to trample upon the rights of his fellows?
Give of thine abundance. Shine like a sun of everlasting righteousness. Let, O, let mine eyes behold the consistency of thine attributes. Make me to see how perfect Love could consent to fill the world with suffering; howperfect Goodness could originate a being so savage and selfish as man; howperfect Wisdom could have justified itself in constructing a nature apparently so imperfect as man's; how perfect Justice could institute a fixed government in which the strong is permitted to crush the weak; how perfect Truth could ever be triumphant in a universe where hypocrisy is fashionable, and false professions succeed on every hand; and finally, I pray, 0, Father of All!
Guide to my side the feet of some angel mind, so that I may be taught the lessons of infinite truth. Help all who struggle into the light; and bless, with the fullness of au everlasting blessing, all thy children everywhere. MAINF days and nights have I waited, overshadowed and darkened in spirit-waiting for some response to my prayer. I look with dismay on the dense and stifling atmosphere pervading the wretched and suffering world of human nature.
I behold the dark breathings of universal selfishness —poisoning ttie very air with evil emanations —blinding, polluting, degrading, and filling with torment and consuming anxiety all human hearts. The gates of wealth are closed against the poor and desolate.
Sin and error walk abroad hand in hand. They enter the temples of religion, and worship openly the crafty supporters of superstition. Ignorance, selfishness, grossness, materialism, sensuality-the evil spirits of civilization, dressed in the bright livery of wealth and fashion-reside like princely demons in every human habitation.
Dwarfed and deformed, and burdened with the mournful consciousness of living unworthily, appear the people of every clime and country. My inmost heart, I feared, was, with its latent energies and fond affections, rapidly withdrawing its sensibilities from mankind.
For days did this heavy weight rest upon my mind. What a mournful gloom! I began to imagine that every person meditated mischief to promote selfish ends. I felt miserably hopeless! The world was so crowded with sin, error, disease, wretchedness. Hell was not so bad, after all! The saving ordinances and fiery doctrines of the most fanatical adherents of orthodoxy seemed less offensive. Without a shudder, I cried "fire! At length, after so long a night, blacker than Egyptian darkness, a grayish morning light streamed into my soul's wilderness.